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MCover: Let the games commence, by
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Registered office: 47 Street Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire. LS8 1AP Registered in England & Wales
4 Forty-20 January 2012
So, what about the misfortune? Well, the roof has already blown off Saints’ Langtree Park. And rumours? Where do we start? Richard Owen scrapping with Santa Claus? The new Stobart-cum-PROBIZ-cum-Betfaircum-ribbed Durex Super League? London and the Catalans out of Mancunian Magic (except that they aren’t)? We will be glad when the on-field action starts. Sometimes a short off-season isn’t a bad thing.
Sick of the boring nightlife in Wigan? Then have we got a treat for you. (Dunno.Havewe?-ed). Scratching Shed’s highly popular ‘In League with Literature’ roadshow is back on Tuesday 31 January (6pm) at Wigan’s brand spanking new library. In alphabetical order to save ego clashes, messrs Caplan, Collins, French, Hadfield and Hannan look forward to seeing you there. Tickets (£5) can be bought by ringing 01942 827621. Don’t rustle your mint balls.
Let no one deny that Forty-20 scribes get around. Our own Harry Potter doppelgänger Gareth Walker, for example, has just returned from a mini-break in Budapest. Notice any Hungarian RL activity, we asked, as is our wont. “No,” he said. “But I did see a woman taking a ferret for a walk.”
Forty-20reader Steven Rodger was so incensed by our ‘Poor call’ quote last month, wherein rugby league was airbrushed out of history on the Olympic Movement’s website, that he sent the five gold rings brigade an email. Baron Pierre de Coubertin and Co replied thus: “The IOC only recognises the International Rugby Board (IRB)... the governing body for rugby sevens and rugby fifteens. That is the reason why you only find information dedicated to these two types of rugby.” Fascists.
Where’s Matthew?: The 3G pitch
“Matthew Lewis was there in his role of Vice-President of the Leeds Foundation...”
December’s Kelvin Fletcher interview, which also referred to Emmerdale’s on-going devotion to rugby league, overlooked the sport’s best known acting graduate - former Halifax and St Helens prop Adam Fogerty. The giant thespian, who has appeared alongside such greats as Brad Pitt, Helen Mirren, Robert De Niro and the nodding Churchill Insurance dog, was in four episodes of the rustic soap in 1998. He played fireman Jez Hudson who cheated on Kathy (Malandra Burrows) and was clocked on the head with an ashtray by Sam Dingle in the Woolpack.
Never mind the paltry 25 - or was it 26 - seconds of rugger league on the BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards at Salford’s MediaCityUK. It was broadcast on a Thursday and that’s double Emmerdalenight, so no one was watching anyway. In the live audience: Jamie Jones-Buchanan’s sideburns, Sam Tomkins, Rob Burrow (casual), Adrian Morley and Kevin Sinfield. Major kudos to Forty-20 columnist Brian Noble, whose prime seat behind the striking woman in red on the front row gave him more screentime than Sue - ‘why this sudden influx of rugby league players on QuestionofSport?’ - Barker.
What price celebrity endorsement? Matthew Lewis, ubiquitous over the holiday period in HarryPotters 3 to 6, part one sub-section b, paragraph 2, turned up with no fanfare at the opening of the now state-of-the-art 3G Archie Gordon Ground in Leeds.
Matthew, as we friends of the stars call him, was there in his role of Vice-President of the Leeds Rugby Foundation. Also present were some female student volunteers from the Carnegie campus, as part of their event management course who, on spotting Neville Longbottom, were struck dumb. Also accepting a role with the Foundation is Nell McAndrew, the Belle Isle-born glamour model, and there haven’t been too many of them down the years. Well, not unless you count Garry Schofield.
The great Harry Jepson - also OBE - has had more hot dinners than, er, hot dinners. At one the other week he told a lovely tale concerning Sally Richardson, the BBC’s stalwart RL producer, to whom he presented an outstanding achievement award. Harry, still sprightly of mind and body in his 92nd year, had turned up at Wembley the day before a Challenge Cup final in his official capacity as RL board member. Spying Sally across a deserted Great Hall, he typically crept up and put his arms around her waist from behind, only to discover it was one of her colleagues. She too has been a great friend ever since.
Back to One
1. The professional playing career of veteran Australian centre Tony Martin, below, began with London Broncos in 1996, the first year of Super
2. Martin went on to have two spells in England’s capital, returning in 2001 after two seasons in Melbourne. He left again in 2003
for the New
3. Horse racing’s Melbourne Cup, below, is New Zealand’s single biggest betting event. An estimated ten per cent of the Kiwi public is said to have bet on the 2010
4. In the opening scene of the 1970 Italian Spaghetti Western My NameisTrinity, the cowboy of that name (Terence Hill) is dragged along by a horse
6. In 2011, Wakefield won a shock Super League licence ahead of Martin’s fifth professional club, Crusaders. He then signed for Hull, meaning he and Warrington’s Adrian Morley will be the last 1996 men standing in 2012
5. Wakefield Trinity’s first nickname was the Dreadnoughts, aka a battleship and Melbourne tram. Martin moved to
Trinity for a third UK stint from 2008